How do race, ethnicity, and gender of a leader influence the exercise of leadership?
“The image of a leader as the tall, White, charismatic leader operating from a command and control position of power is changing, leaders in the United States today still mirror our dominant majority” (Chin & Trimble, 2015, p. 53). Crenshaw (1989), who coined the term “intersectionality,” originally applied the concept through a feminist lens to the understanding of the experiences of Black women. Crenshaw asserted that the experiences of Black women could not fully be comprehended without taking into account the duality of their experience as both women and as being Black. Crenshaw’s same claim of the need to understand a person’s experience through all relevant lenses in order to better understand their sum lived experience can be applied in multiple ways: in this case, to the understanding of how race, ethnicity, and gender influence the exercise of leadership. Race and ethnicity coupled with culture and cultural values impact the perceptions a leader has on leadership and also the way the leader navigates the leadership position.
It is important that a leader understands how his, her, or their intersectional identity influences their own biases, expectations, and interactions as well. When leading diverse organizations, sometimes the leader does not share the same facets of identity as the majority of those in the organization; however, the leader still has to positively navigate the leadership experience. Additionally, there are times when the facets of the leaders identity cause friction between them and those in the organization they lead. These are times when the leader has to find ways to navigate around those who may not respect the leader because of diversity differences.
2. Distinguish between paternalistic and maternalistic styles of leadership; what cultural factors would have to be in the place for one or the other styles to work effectively?
The paternalistic leadership style is a wherein a male figurehead “governs the community or organization without giving them many rights or responsibilities” (Chin & Trimble, 2015, p. 132). Maternalistic leadership styles are ones where a woman figurehead “guides the direction of the organization” and puts emphasis on nurturing and the “care and welfare of children and women” (Chin & Trimble, 2015, p. 132). Culture impacts the way the two leadership styles work effectively insomuch as the way men and women are seen in that culture. Maternalistic leadership may not be as valued in male-dominant cultures, and paternalistic leadership may not be as effective in cultures wherein women hold near or equal power to men. Additionally, the values of the culture have to support the characteristics of the leadership style being employed.
Chin, J. L. & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Diversity and leadership. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989(1)
Manage Discussion EntryDiscussion: 2
How do race, ethnicity, and gender of a leader influence the exercise of leadership?
Chin and Trimble (2015) present a compelling argument that “President Barack Obama, while not a descendent of slaves or running his presidential campaign on race, was forced to confront the issue of the race early on in his campaign” (p. 53). As the first non-white president it was not difficult to discern that his race was the key factor for the direct criticism he experienced especially due to the fact that he had to present his birth certificate to prove that he was an American (Chin & Trimble, 2015). I found this aspect of President Obama’s campaign very troubling as his character was again victimized by charges levied against him for being in cahoots with terrorists, thus, casting a negative connotation that someone non-white cannot be trusted (Chin & Trimble, 2015). In the 21st century, changes are occurring rapidly and it is important that leadership is embraced with the inclusion of culture and diversity (Chin & Trimble, 2015).
Chin and Trimble suggest that “Different cultural values influence work ethic, business practices, and leadership styles leading to an emphasis on ethics as a growing dimension of leadership” (p. 56). The principles of ethics along with diversity leadership are developed based on values and beliefs (Chin & Trimble, 2015). It is important to understand relational methodology as it relates to challenges and concerns of ethics groups because the emergence of moral and ethical codes is based on the philosophies and ideals of the culture (Chin & Trimble, 2015).
Gender – Feminist Leadership
Chin and Trimble (2015) states, “Women exercise of leadership among diverse leadership encompasses dimensions of equity, differences in leadership style, the incongruity of roles, and bias toward women that are related to stereotypes of social identities” (p. 68). For example, black women’s leadership style is perceived to be bossy, dominant, and outspoken. Asian women’s leadership style is based on integrity which gives them the right to act the way they want to. I am very intrigued by the Native Hawaiian women’s leadership style, they rely on their past of their ancestors as the foundation for the present and future. Chin and Trimble (2015) noted, “women tend to be me more transformative and collaborative in their leadership styles” (p. 69).
Distinguish between paternalistic and maternalistic styles of leadership; what cultural factors would have to be in place for one or the other styles to work effectively?
Work environments were not designed with a family support structure. The image of a paternalistic style of leadership is effective in a traditional leadership paradigm where the work-family interface is not addressed. The male would dominate as the father would in the home but lacks the ability to nurture and manage as a mother.
Maternalistic leadership style within a workforce is displayed and demonstrated by a woman who possesses a mother’s intuition of nurturing and caring for her home and family. Chin and Trimble indicate that “with the growth of women in the workforce, the work-family interface has been identified as central to the leadership experiences of women leaders” (p. 82). Women leaders in the workforce in Hong Kong utilize maids, China depends on grandparents and the United States often use daycare for the care of their children (Chin & Trimble, 2015). Parents’ support and scaffolding in infant development enrich social relationships and cognitive development (Perry-Jenkins, Laws, Sayer, & Newkirk, 2020). It is very important to understand how early maternal employment may infringe on a mother’s time and ability to aid in the social development of their infant (Perry-Jenkins, Laws, Sayer, & Newkirk, 2020). Family neglect is a key factor that needs to be taken into consideration for the maternalistic and parternalistic leadership style of leadership because of the long hours and commitment entrust upon them (Chin & Trimble, 2015).
Chin, J. L., & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Diversity and Leadership. In J. L. Chin, & J. E. Trimble, Dimensions of Diversity (pp. 21-51). Los Angeles: Sage.
Perry-Jenkins, M., Laws, H. B., Sayer, A., & Newkirk, K. (2020, April). Parents’ work and children’s development: A longitudinal investigation of working-class families. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(3), 257-268. doi:10.1037/fam0000580
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